The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines. But even more jobs (about 97 million) may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms.
Greater adoption of technology will mean in-demand skills across jobs change over the next five years; and skills gaps will continue to be high. Therefore, as we look towards the future, it raises the question; what skills will we need to thrive in this brave new world?
Cognitive flexibility is how quickly you can swing, leap and twirl back and forth between different systems of thought.
The more nimble (quick-thinking or agile) you are, the easier it becomes to see new patterns; and to make unique associations between ideas. It sheds new light on the concept of having a ‘nimble’ mind!
So how do we flex our cognitive muscles? By learning new things and in particular, learning new ways of thinking.
Expand your interests, read outside your comfort zone, and embrace people who challenge your worldviews. Your career (and your brain) will thank you for it.
With robots infiltrating the workforce and job automation flagged to become increasingly commonplace, social skills will be more important than ever in the future. Why? Because we’re far better at social interaction and negotiations than robots are (for now at least).
Even people in purely technical occupations will soon be expected to show greater interpersonal skills; and being able to negotiate with your colleagues, managers, clients and teams will be high up on the list of desirable skills.
Defined as the ability to ‘actively look for ways to help people’; having strong service orientation skills is all about shining a spotlight on consumers; and anticipating what their needs will be in the future.
As the World Economic Forum (WEF) report points out, businesses in the energy, financial services and IT industries are ‘increasingly finding themselves confronted with new consumer concerns about issues such as carbon footprints, food safety, labour standards and privacy.’
Therefore, from a skills perspective this means that businesses ‘will need to learn to more quickly anticipate these new consumer values; to translate them into product offerings; and to become ever more knowledgeable about the processes involved in meeting these demands.’
Getting a grip on service orientation involves stepping into the minds of users; and thinking about what they value, fear, and dislike; and developing new products or adapting services to future proof your company or brand.
The ability to make sound judgement and the knack for strong decision-making is forecast to move up the skill list by 2021. This isn’t surprising considering the sheer volume of data that organizations can now amass; and the growing need for employees who can sift through the numbers, find actionable insights; and use big data to inform business strategy and decisions.
To improve your decision-making skills immediately; start getting a whole lot more comfortable with data. First, figure out what questions or problems you want to answer, then set aside time to explore new data tools and technologies that can help you collect this information. Once you have these two things, you’ll want to make Excel your best friend, learn how to manipulate the data and mine it for all it’s worth!
The overwhelming response from company strategists was that when it comes to desirable skillsets, ‘overall, social skills such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others will be in higher demand across industries’ of the future.
Travis Bradberry, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0; explains that Emotional Intelligence ‘is the other kind of smart. It’s that intangible ‘something’ that helps us tune into the kaleidoscope of human emotions; and measures how adept we are at adjusting our behaviour depending on the mood of a colleague, partner, family member, or even our own internal feelings.
Emotional intelligence literally informs every interaction we have. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. It’s a social skill that’s particularly important to managers and leaders, and you’ll be glad to hear that you can give your EQ (emotional quotient) a boost!
Social skills point to the emerging trend of companies putting more emphasis on strong interpersonal skills, and employees who play well with others.
Collaboration is crucial in any work environment and this is something that thankfully humans are still better at than robots!
‘Human interaction in the workplace involves team production, with workers playing off of each other’s strengths and adapting flexibly to changing circumstances,’ the WEF report explains. ‘Such non-routine interaction is at the heart of the human advantage over machines.’
Collaboration involves strong communication skills, an awareness of other people’s strengths and weaknesses, and being able to work with a range of different personalities.
Irrespective of how many jobs get automated and how advanced artificial intelligence becomes, employees will always be a company’s most prized resource.
Human beings are more creative, better at reading each other. But being human also means that we get sick, we get demotivated, and we get distracted.
So, it’s vital that in the future, managers and team leaders know how to motivate their teams, maximise their productivity and respond to their needs.
Being a great manager has a lot to do with emotional intelligence; knowing how to delegate, and developing your own management style.
With the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, employees are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes.’Alex Gray; World Economic Forum senior writer.
‘Robots may help us get to where we want to be faster, but they can’t be as creative as humans (yet).’
Creativity is predicted to become a key skill in the future; so before you dismiss yourself as a ‘non-creative’ person, remember that creativity is not the exclusive domain of artsy types like musicians and writers.
If you’re able to connect the dots with seemingly disparate information; and throw all the ideas together to present something ‘new’, then you are a creative person.
The problem with the creative process is its inherent ‘non-process’ nature. There is simply no one way to creatively problem-solve something. In saying that, there are ways to unleash the creative within you by exercising curiosity and self-expression on a regular basis.
Some other things you can do include; giving yourself time to let your thoughts wander; making it a habit to sit down and create a body of work when you’re sleepy; and using limitations as a starting point for creativity!
Being a critical thinker will still be a valued skillset in the coming years. But what does critical thinking actually involve?
The answer is: logic and reasoning. Critical thinking involves being able to use logic and reasoning to interrogate an issue or problem, consider various solutions to the problem; and weigh up the pros and cons of each approach.
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Culled from: HRVision